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Where Canada's jobs will be in 2015 and beyond

Motorized mannequins hold signs that read "Hire Me" in Toronto May 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

If you don’t know much about Edmonton, it might be hard to see the appeal.

The winters are cold and the landscape undramatic. Even local officials have had to stop calling it the City of Champions after years of disappointing returns from the hometown hockey team.

But there is one enviable thing Edmonton does have: jobs, and plenty of them.

Edmonton scored the highest among Canada’s biggest urban centres in terms of projected job growth in a recent labour-market study by CareerBuilder.ca, the Canadian branch of a U.S.-owned career site.

Over the next six years, more than 59,000 additional jobs are expected to open up in the city.

The study projects nearly 844,000 jobs by 2020, up 8 per cent over 2014 labour market figures of about 785,000 jobs.

The pace of job creation in Calgary is expected to follow closely behind at 7 per cent (for a total of 911,000 jobs in 2020), with Regina and Saskatoon running at 6 per cent growth (156,000 and 179,500, respectively, by 2020).

In Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg, job-growth trend is expected to be slower, at 5 per cent; while Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City will see a four-per-cent increase, the study found. Job growth between 2014 and 2020 scored the lowest in Halifax, at 3 per cent.

Broadly speaking, the numbers add up to good news for job hunters across the country.

“Our findings show that employers will continue adding jobs at a steady pace,” said Mark Bania, Director of CareerBuilder Canada, in a media release.

What jobs will be in demand?

But, as is always the case, the anticipated growth is expected to favour certain sectors and occupations over others, and varies across regions.

In Edmonton, for example, openings for public and environmental health and occupational health and safety inspectors are expected to grow by 21 per cent over the next six years, reaping median hourly earnings of $36.52.

Demand for retail salespeople and sales clerks, welders and related machine operators, registered nurses and administrative officers is also expected to be strong in Alberta’s capital city region.

Jobs for high school and primary school teachers are expected to grow in Calgary, Halifax, Regina, Ottawa, Saskatoon and Toronto. Median hourly earnings vary from about $31 in Halifax to $38.32 in Toronto.

University professors may find work in Montreal or Vancouver where jobs in the academic sector are projected to increase by 12 and 15 per cent, respectively, earning a median wage of about $39 per hour.

In the Ottawa-Gatineau region, meanwhile, lawyers and Quebec notaries are expected to be in hot demand – with growth in these occupations up 10 per cent between 2014 and 2020, and median earnings at about $41.55 per hour.

Of course, there are expected to be jobs for engineers (mechanical and software, in particular) and various IT professionals across the country, particularly in the big urban markets of Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.

Tradespeople, too, will continue to find work, including welders, electricians, automotive technicians and heavy-duty mechanics. In Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon those qualified in in-demand trades occupations can expect to earn a median hourly wage of $28 and more.

It’s worth nothing that these projections don’t take into account the fall in the price of oil.

In Alberta, where job creation has been outpacing every other province in the country, even the most-optimistic business folks are predicting a “softer” 2015.

The trend in sliding in oil prices (the lowest since 2009) is not expected to reverse for at least another six months, possibly even a year, and will act as a drag on the province’s growth, at least in the near-term.

David Gadd, director of business development with Calgary-based Proxime Recruitment Solutions, a company that specializes in SAP recruitment, said there is concern in the IT sector that several major projects on the books will be delayed or cancelled in the coming months.

“There is obviously going to be a slowdown and anyone who says otherwise is naïve,” Gadd says.